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An Introduction To The Neurodiversity Index

Investing In the Future!

At Planning Across the Spectrum, we believe that the future of the world is full of neurodiversity inclusion. As investors, we believe in investing in that future! Planning Across the Spectrum is a business founded and run by neurodiverse and we’ve worked with many businesses on their own inclusion efforts. We’ve done this work long enough to know the power of neurodiversity inclusion, and how it translates to stronger and more profitable businesses. As financial advisors and investors in our own right, we were in the perfect position to create a way to invest in this power! So, that’s what we did!

Now individuals, endowments, and institutions have a way to invest in neurodiversity inclusion. Our expertise as Certified Financial Advisors led us to design an index that is as accessible as possible. For example, our clients will have the opportunity to work with us on tax efficiency inside their trust accounts, such as special needs trusts. We at Planning Across the Spectrum knew we could create this index and make it accessible. Now let’s discuss why we felt we needed to create this index.

We Know Inclusivity

Planning Across the Spectrum works with many investors who believe, just as we do, that neurodiversity inclusion is the future of business. These are individuals, families, and employers who are passionate about creating and investing in neurodiversity inclusion at all levels of business. We scanned the landscape, spoke to companies, and were disappointed by what we found. To our knowledge, none of the billions of dollars of investments that have made up the new era of impact investing have been specifically focused on designing a greater sense of accountability for neurodiverse inclusion. There was no discussion of investing in the power and value of autistic individuals, individuals with ADHD, Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, or anyone else typically considered neurodiverse. It simply wasn’t part of the impact investing conversation.

To an extent, this was for understandable reasons. We quickly learned that this wasn’t an easy task. Much of the relevant data wasn’t easily accessible, or able accessed and understood in a way that allowed individuals not as ingrained in the field as we were to actually understand it. We grew frustrated. Particularly at the few common names mentioned in the neurodiversity hiring media, as we knew that inclusion was more complex than it was often portrayed. There were many other businesses quietly doing as much or more for neurodiverse individuals. In fact, there were businesses run by neurodiverse individuals who were rarely mentioned compared to corporate pr stunts. Once again, neurodiverse individuals were being talked over and not listened to.

After having been left out of the conversation for so long, we decided to create our own index. We got to work and built an index around our own personal and professional experiences, as well as a lot of data. We carefully chose criteria that we’ve come to understand as crucial to measuring a business’s actual commitment to neurodiversity inclusion. Through our work and personal lives, we have learned that neurodiversity inclusion is the future, and now we are offering a way to invest in that very future.

What is the Neurodiversity Index?

We all know about the typical markets you can invest in. There’s the DOW, the S&P, and the Nasdaq. And now there’s the Neurodiversity Index! We truly believe that the Neurodiversity Index is going to completely change the game, and we have the data and expertise to tell you why! Let’s begin though by quoting the official Methodology of The Neurodiversity Index:

“The index is an equal-weighted index measuring the performance of the top 79 U.S. listed companies that are leaders and advocates of the neurodiversity movement to support individuals with autism and other cognitive or neurological conditions. All companies are ranked by proprietary formulas and the research developed by a majority autistic team”

Basically, in the world of stocks, an index is a collection of different stocks that, in this case, are ranked based on certain criteria. The criteria work as a way to rank all companies on the stock exchange. In this case, The Neurodiversity Index represents the top 79 ranked companies in neurodiverse worker and consumer inclusivity based on our 8 chosen criteria. You can learn more about the criteria here, but to put it simply, we measure companies’ commitment to neurodiversity inclusion and allow you to invest in the companies that rank highest. The value of the index is determined by the values of the 79 companies currently in it, which change twice a year. If the companies in the index do well, the value of the Neurodiversity Index rises.

Why is the Neurodiversity Index Worth Investing in?

We’ve established that investing in The Neurodiversity Index supports businesses that are inclusive, but there are more reasons to invest than just that! As any investor knows, investing is also about making money. And The Neurodiversity Index is no exception! The index is built on the well-documented and researched phenomenon that businesses that are more diverse are more profitable. We believe that will apply to neurodiversity as well, and in our own experiences, we have seen that this is in fact the case. We have seen, worked with, and even helped build many successful businesses that focus on neurodiversity inclusion. But because investing our clients’ funds wisely is so important to us as financial planners we go above and beyond.

We take each business's financial wellbeing into account as well, to make sure smart investments are being made. One of the criteria for The Neurodiversity Index is titled “Accountability” and exists to make sure we are only considering businesses with sound financial data. This means businesses with stocks that are speculative or manipulative will not rank highly in our index. To put it simply, business viability is crucial. We plan to build a more inclusive future for neurodiverse individuals, while also building up great businesses and making money for those investing in that better future.

This is again where it’s important to mention that we’re not coming at this from just anywhere. The Neurodiversity Index is built on the experience and expertise of Planning Across the Spectrum. We’re a financial planning company full of qualified and experienced financial advisors with a deep understanding of investing. Many of the ways that the Neurodiversity Index is built from the ground up rely on a level of expertise that you can only expect from certified financial planners. For instance, with the Neurodiversity Index, we buy the individual stocks that go into the index. This allows us more control over eliminating companies that show they don’t share our values and more control over the finances and therefore how people can invest in the index.

The Neurodiversity Index is also proudly transparent and because of that, you can view the daily value of our index on our website here so you know we’re not just blowing smoke about this being meaningful and profitable. You can check the value on our website every single day.

Pushing for Neurodiversity Inclusion Across the Board

The Neurodiversity Index plans to use its power to encourage neurodiversity inclusion across the board. The Index does this in two ways. First, the Neurodiversity Index shows companies that investors care about neurodiversity inclusion and are willing to put their money where their mouths are. Second, it allows investors to invest in companies that share their values on neurodiversity inclusion, therefore giving those companies greater access to investment capital.

We also hope to push for a society-wide reimagining of what Neurodiverse employees and consumers can bring to a business. This has already begun as there are now plenty of hiring programs for major corporations that focus on neurodivergent individuals, and there are plenty of businesses that now have specific days or times dedicated to creating an autism-friendly environment for customers. These conversations need to go further though! We need to talk more about how hiring neurodiverse employees are not charity, it’s a strategy. Autistic employees are effective and can be incredible assets to a business that knows how to work with and support them. And we need to talk about how autistic consumers have always existed and will pay for services and products that are actually built with them in mind. We at The Neurodiversity Index plan to use our platform to have and further these conversations as well as give individuals an opportunity to invest in neurodiversity inclusion.

Let’s Get Investing!

As a company built on neurodiversity inclusion, we at Planning Across the Spectrum know how complex and difficult of an undertaking it is to push the entire business world into embracing inclusion efforts. But we also know the power of inclusivity. We have worked with many companies to help them understand neurodiversity inclusion, and we know what makes for successful inclusivity efforts. This index is just another way we hope to make pushing for neurodiversity inclusion accessible to all who share a belief in its importance. And we’re doing it through one of the things we know best, smart investing.

We are experts in the fields of investing and neurodiversity inclusion. We’ve not only done the work, but we’ve built Planning Across the Spectrum around what we’ve learned from our work. Neurodiversity is built into the way we think and act as a business and as people. And smart investing is what we’ve built our success as financial advisors on. If you value neurodiversity, we’re who you want to talk to. And we want to talk to you just as much! Because together we can create a more inclusive world for neurodiverse individuals, and it starts with just a simple conversation. So, reach out, and let’s get investing!

If you are interested in investing in the Neurodiversity Index please reach out to us and we will get to work investing in a better future!